Can Bankruptcy Stop Wages from Being Garnished?

Posted on Mar 31, 2015 By Kathryn Davis

decatur Attorney Kathryn DavisWe see many potential clients whose biggest issue is that their wages are being garnished by one or more creditors.  The potential clients ask whether bankruptcy can stop the garnishments.  The answer is yes!

Wage garnishments can be devastating to someone who is struggling financially.  Fortunately, when a debtor files bankruptcy, the automatic stay is put in place.  This stops creditors from pursuing any collection activities against the debtor, including garnishing the debtor’s wages.  It is important to note that the automatic stay does not apply to domestic support obligations, so if a debtor’s wages are being garnished to satisfy child support or alimony obligations, filing bankruptcy will not stop those garnishments.

After a debtor receives a bankruptcy discharge, as long as the underlying debt that was the source of the garnishment was included in the bankruptcy, that debt is discharged.  The debt will be extinguished, and the debtor is no longer responsible for it.  However, if the bankruptcy case gets dismissed without a discharge, the debtor will still be responsible for that debt.

Some more good news is that a debtor might be able to recover some of his or her garnished wages after filing bankruptcy.  If the wages garnished total over $600, were taken out 90 days before the bankruptcy filing, and if the debtor has enough exemptions to cover them, the debtor can recover those funds from the creditor.

If your wages are being garnished and you need to make a change, please contact one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys and set up a free consultation to discuss your options.